Far be it for me to be an apologist for Toronto FC. I have on many the occasion been critical of the club and of course for what has stretched now into five full seasons of MLS futility. And in a lot of cases that criticism had been more than deserved.

Cathal KellyThis 2011 season has of course now ended and the scribes and pundits have started their own look back in one form or another trying to put the season and how it ended into some sort of context.

Toronto Star columnist and “journalist” Cathal Kelly is one of them weighing in on TFC as they head into the off season. He wrote an article in the Sunday Star that was more hatchet job than analysis… more a superficial meaningless analysis of a few stats with next to no context behind them… more a petulant dig that in fact contradicted a piece he wrote just a few days earlier. Suffice it to say I took some serious umbrage to what he wrote and I thought it might be fair to take a look at a few of the salient points he made to make his point (such as it was) and take a stab at trying to explain why I think frankly he is full of it with his so called analysis.

Here is the article Cathal wrote on Sunday after the New England game: http://bit.ly/remOp4

And here is the one he wrote after the Dallas Game last Tuesday: http://bit.ly/nlfb7J

“…By every objective metric, this club is no further along now than they were on Day One…” Cathal Kelly – Toronto Star – October 22, 2011

Yes MLS playoff qualification eluded TFC this season. And most Toronto FC observers, professional or otherwise, were likely in agreement that the Reds had little to no chance of making the post season if asked that question before this campaign had started. Aron Winter felt that he had to blow up the team he inherited from Mo Johnston and even with a lot of questions ahead of 2012 and a lot of holes still to fill I think it is a bit unfair to say that TFC at the end of 2007 was as good a club as TFC currently is at the end of 2011. Not only is it a bit unfair I think its a flat out incorrect assertion that Kelly is making here.

“…The 2-2 finish flattered the hosts. Most of the crowd on hand fled before the team had a chance to clap their appreciation. Maybe it was the cold. Maybe they’ve decided that applauding every phony victory is counterproductive…” Cathal Kelly – Toronto Star – October 22, 2011

I assume by “phony” Cathal is talking about the Champions League victory last Tuesday in Dallas that saw the Reds get into the knockout stages of the North American club tournament for the first time in three consecutive attempts to do so. Maybe Cathal missed Terry Dunfield throwing his jersey into section 113. Maybe he was too busy in the press box to see the entire club (managers, players and staff) do a full lap around the  stadium clapping for the fans. Oh well, he must have had a deadline to meet, or some cocktail party to get to.

“…For right now, it’s time to savour a long overdue success for the team and its suffering fans. More than a sense of accomplishment, Toronto’s victory will birth a renewed hopefulness for next season with the current one coming to an end at BMO Field on Saturday…” Cathal Kelly – Toronto Star – October 19, 2011

Funny how a victory Cathal Kelly himself was calling a success and the birth of renewed hope for TFC next season on Wednesday in three short days turned into a “phony” victory. Perhaps the “birth of renewed hopefulness” line did not tie into the TFC still sucks and abandon all hope ye who enter here narrative he was trying to paint on Sunday.

“…Team boss Aron Winter acknowledged…systemic problems in an unusual way. He took out a full page ad in the Saturday Star’s Sports section that read like a personal mea culpa…” Cathal Kelly – Toronto Star – October 22, 2011

Funny that Cathal chose to critique Aron Winter and Toronto FC on this point. Yes MLSE did pay for a full page ad in the Saturday Star Sports Section. And yes to a degree it was full of platitudes that were likely written by a PR flack. But for Kelly to criticize this really is completely disrespectful. Not only did TFC probably pay thousands of dollars for the ad, but not one single solitary word about Toronto FC, other than the advertisement TFC paid for, appeared in the Saturday Sports Section of the largest newspaper in the city of Toronto.

Perhaps Mr. Kelly should focus his laser beam like criticism for a newsroom/employer that feels that a story about baseball players drinking beer and eating greasy food on the road is somehow more important than presenting any meaningful content or analysis about TFC’s last game of the season, which was apparently the case on Saturday. Frankly I can’t blame TFC one bit here. If they had not paid for the ad tens of thousands of Star readers might not have known a game was even happening. If I was Tom Anselmi and I was disrespected like this I would be calling the Star publisher Monday looking for a big refund!

“…If Winter left the field looking mildly ticked off at this final performance, his charges appeared satisfied or no good reason…That’s one way to look at it. That unexpected (Champions League) win (in Dallas) papered over a great many disappointments. However it would be wrong to think of it (Champions League qualification) as a turning point…” Cathal Kelly – Toronto Star – October 22, 2011

Kelly is entitled to his opinion, and he is welcome to it.But opinion is not fact.

And since there are no guarantees in sport he may very well be right in his opinion at the end of the day. I for one disagree with him. For the first time the Reds achieved a win that not only symbolizes what many feel are better times ahead but also shows that there has indeed been progress in the year Aron Winter and company have been in charge . TFC is far from the finished article, on that myself and Mr. Kelly are in full agreement. But calling what has been accomplished, particularly post Frings and post Koevermans a disappointment and completely changing his printed position in three short days as to the importance of what happened in Dallas last week looks like either sloppy journalism at best or at worst just a selective interpretation of the facts to suit an agenda that myself and many others have already come to see that this gentleman appears to hold.

In my opinion Kelly likes the sound of his own voice and when it comes to Toronto FC in five years now he never let fairness or his ability to turn tack in a few short days get in the way of his “narrative”.



  1. Cathal Kelly and most other Toronto sports reporters are complete tools when it comes to reporting. they just write in articles what people already think. they say “hey look, the average person thinks that TFC’s a hopeless mess” and so they write articles that go along with that brainwave. and to do so all they have to do is regurgitate the same useless numbers and facts that everyone already knows.

  2. I guess this comes back as a be careful what you wish for situation. The whole season we’ve been looking for them to report on TFC, and this is the coverage we get. But needless to say, we are again talking about the Toronto Star. I wonder how the Leafs’ coverage will look this season. 44 years of hopefulness. This dude oozes douchebag.

  3. Jim Medeiros

    What a jerk, how can anyone think we are not further ahead than in 07

  4. john johnston

    awesome articles, its about time someone told the TRUTH about tfc, they are not a good team at all, winters got rid of every good player they had,and trust me he will be getting rid of some of his players from this season, he will blame it on salary issues, this so called coach is very very spitefull and i dont trust him at all, tfc has a captain who cant speak any english what use is he?? but dont worry toronto next year the team will be made up of dutch and german cast offs, so they will be able to understand each other, i give koevermans the Phil Espisito award for the biggest POACHER in the mls, anyone can stand in front of the net the whole game and touch the ball into the net, he is by far the laziest player too, keep up the good work toronto star.

  5. @ John Johnston

    Have you actually been to a game or are you Catheter Kelly in disguise? Or maybe you are just an illiterate, unintelligent and ill-informed troll ?

    Frings doesn’t need to speak English to be understood. He has shown his class since his arrival and that class translates to any language. To use a well worn football metaphor, he “covers every blade of grass” during most games and we are far more solid now that he is here. His presence also co-incided with the best spell of play we have seen from Julian DeGuzman since his arrival at the club a few years ago … perhaps because not all the expectations are weighing on his solitary shoulders anymore and he has another player of class and pedigree to work with.

    As for Koevermans, he is a striker, he is paid to put the ball in the back of the net and 8 goals in 9 MLS starts (+1 sub appearance) [[i]or 10 in 15+2 overall appearances if you prefer[/i]] shows he is doing what he is paid to do. It is true that many have been scored from the 6 yard line or closer, but just as many were actually well worked goals that took some skill to produce.

    Dutch and German castoffs next year? apart from being unable to do that within the rules of MLS (check out domestic/international roster spots), you conveniently forget to consider the amount of playing time given to players like Ashtone Morgan. Doneil Henry, or Matt Stinson who are all Academy graduates, or the way the squad’s average age is now somewhere in the 20s as Winter has replaced older, and yes, sometimes more skillful players with younger prospects where he has had to.

  6. theirishembassy

    ^ everytime i read an article about this club it’s always tinted with shit like this. yeah, tfc have underperformed since day 1, but the club has made headway. that’s not including the patchwork defense we’re working with after trading one of our CBs whose sucked ever since (attakora) and losing two other defenders to season ending injuries.

    as for “winters”, i hope he does get rid of some players this year; trim the fat as it were and that, unfortunately, IS something that a coach can blame on salary issues in capped leagues (see what happened to joel quenneville after chicago won the stanley cup).

    now, aside from that, i’d like to get to your point about danny k. no one can stand in front of the net and hammer in goals. if you ever played in a position that services a forward im sure youll find that getting the ball to someone who is both onside and open with the vision to find a shot on goal is fucking difficult. especially when youre not at full fitness yet. with the best strike rate in the league amongst starters (better than the golden boot winner this season) i’d like to see you argue that koevermans didnt possess any type of skill to have accomplished that feat.

    come off it.

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